Retail sales flat in January – Commerce Dept.

Washington -- Held in check by sliding car sales, overall U.S. retail sales were unexpectedly flat in January, unchanged from their December level, making it the worst performance since a 0.2% drop in October, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported.

Analysts had been expecting a 0.3% increase as consumers redeemed holiday gift cards. But acting as a drag on total numbers, car sales tumbled by 1.3% during January, offsetting solid gains in most other retail channels, including furniture and home furniture stores, where sales rose by 0.8%.

Showing surprising strength were the nation's department stores, the month's big winner, with a 1.4% increase in sales, helped by sales of winter clothing once cold weather finally set in, and getting a further boost from clearance events. Clothing & accessories were also at the top of the leader board with a 1.0% increase.

Other strong performers were building material and garden supply outlets, up 0.8%, and grocery stores and health & personal care stores, both up 0.6%.

Laggards, along with car dealers, were electronics and appliance stores, down 1.2% once the spate of holiday sales of big-screen TVs subsided. Gas stations were off by 0.7% as prices at the pump subsided.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

 Home Textiles Today is the market-leading brand covering the home and textiles markets, offering a comprehensive package of print and online products. Home & Textiles Today provides industry news, product trends and introductions, exclusive industry research, consumer data, store operations solutions, trade show news and much more.

Featured Video

  • Live From New York: Fashion Comes Across the Pond

    Camera Icon More Videos

Subscribe to
Home & Textiles Today eDaily
Receive the news you need to know about the trends in the industry delivered right to your inbox.


HTT Cover October 2017

See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!